Case Brief: Wilson v Zant

Case Title: Wilson v Zant

Citation: No. 38278;

249 Ga. 373;

290 S.E.2d 442

1982 Ga. LEXIS 1137


Year Decided: 1982

Facts: In the 1980’s Joseph Wilson Jr. was sentenced to death by the state of Georgia. Wilson was convicted for kidnapping and murder. Three witnesses saw Wilson take a male victim by gunpoint from a witness’ home. The victim was later found dead of a gunshot wound to the head. With the help of witness testimony a jury found Wilson guilty of the crime. Wilson appealed the verdict to a higher court which was denied. He then filed to petition the court for writ habeas corpus. It included a number of charges against the court siting a violation of constitutional rights. Wilson made claims against the integrity of the witnesses, statement made during interrogation, and owning a firearm. The weight of the petition for writ of habeas corpus is the admissibility of his initial statement made during interrogation, Miranda, and right to counsel. Although Wilson was read his Miranda rights and exercised his right to have a lawyer present, counsel was not provided. Despite this, Wilson gave a statement during interrogation.

Issues: Because the statement made by Wilson during interrogation was admissible in court, did this evidence harm his case beyond a reasonable doubt?

Court Decision: The Supreme Court of Georgia affirmed the decision of the lower court. The decision was concurred by all standing Justices.

Holding: The high court determined that Wilson made statements during interrogation without a counsel present at his own free will. Wilson also exercised his right to take the stand during trial to further defend himself in court. Evidence was gathered as a result of statements made during interrogation which further incriminated his involvement. Lastly, when the court allowed the use of interrogation statements during trial, it was not under malicious intent but a harmless error.


About Russia Robinson

I am an independent freelance writer and free thinker. I strive to use my writing talents to benefit the greater good of society, one word, one sentence, one page at a time. Originally from Richmond, California I attended San Francisco State University receiving a BA in English Creative Writing and American Literature in 2004. After this I attended post graduate studies in 2008 at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University in Technical Writing. With an academic background in English, I have spent more than 10 years’ helping young people succeed. This can be seen in my career background in education and mental health. I am a certifiable Language Arts teacher for the state of Georgia. I also worked in social services including juvenile mental health treatment services and counseling. As a result, I understand the diversity of problems people face in their everyday lives. With words put together like so, I promote equality and a healthy society for all people regardless of individual differences. Conducting research, writing articles, essays, and blogging, I push to educate others about various issues that affect people. I also do this creatively through short stories, poems, pictures, and a novel in progress. My hobbies and interest are reading and learning. I enjoy all things art and all things nature. From camping and astronomy to photography and cooking, I enjoy sighting seeing and socializing just as much as I enjoy curling in bed with a good book or binge watching TV.
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